My guest today, Tracy Borgmeyer and her science-themed middle grade books are of particular interest to me because I have a daughter (who’s fifteen now) who actually loves science and is thinking of focusing on it in some way when she goes off to college in a few years. She would have gone bananas for a series like this back when she was eight or nine years old.
Also, I often tend to geek out in the evenings on science and history documentaries about anything from the study of black holes to the biology of the oceans to the wildlife or history of the national parks. But I digress. Today’s guest on the blog writes a series for kids in which the concepts of science, itself, are utilized by the hero of the story to save the day! So what she writes is both science AND fiction. Now that’s what I call brilliant!
Q. Welcome, Tracy! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your books.
A. Hi Shana! Thanks for the introduction! My name is Tracy Borgmeyer and I am a mom of three kids (8, 5, and 3), a chemical engineer, and author of the Halley Harper, Science Girl Extraordinaire series. I have been documenting the science experiments I do with my kids for the last four years on my blog www.SheLovesScience.com. I love sharing our discoveries and have come to realize that my passion is to empower moms to empower their girls in science. Especially since I, well, love science 😉
Q. I love that! It’s wonderful to hear from someone who’s working hard to help more girls take an interest in science. I can’t wait to hear more about your books. Can you give us some details?
A. Thanks! Sure. They’re middle grade fiction books that my eight-year-old daughter and her friends will devour in one or two sittings while not even realizing they are learning science concepts in the process.
The Halley Harper, Science Girl Extraordinaire series follows a nine-year-old girl named after Halley’s Comet on adventures to Camp Eureka–her favorite summer science camp. Her dilemma in each book is to determine how to use science, often learned from disasters that happen to her at home, to save the day while she is away at camp.
Each book centers around one science concept with science experiments that reinforce the concepts located in the back of the book. Halley Harper, Science Girl Extraordinaire: Summer Set in Motion (Book 1): Despite being named after Halley’s Comet, nine-year-old science-loving Halley Harper overhears someone calling her a square peg in a round hole and almost believes it to be true. Then an adventure to summer camp takes her on a journey to use her quirky love of science to turn ordinary into extraordinary. Will she save her beloved summer camp, her friends, and even herself using the Laws of Motion?
Halley Harper, Science Girl Extraordinaire: The Friendship Experiment (Book 2): Halley believes science is magic, just like her friendship with Gracelyn, until one day they can no longer be together. How will she be able to go back to Camp Eureka without her best friend and partner in science? At camp, Halley has to confront a new mean girl and try to survive a magic chemistry show that proves to be explosive. To make matters worse, Halley loses her diary where she wrote her inner most thoughts about her friends and the secret treasure of Camp Eureka. Can she save her friendship and locate her diary before it falls into the wrong hands?
I also wrote a book for adults. She Loves Science: A Mother’s Guide to Nurturing the Curiosity, Confidence, and Creativity of Her Daughter was my first nonfiction book. It’s a guide for mothers who have daughters that already show an interest in science. This book gives mothers tips on how to feed a daughter’s curiosity and nurture her confidence so she will become that future problem solver our world needs! This book also tells my story of being a female chasing after a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).
Q. That’s really useful! What a great idea. Can you tell me, WHY do you write what you write?
A. #1: “If you don’t see the book you want on the shelf, write it.” ~Beverly Cleary
Halley Harper is the science girl hero I wish I had growing up. I loved curling up to read Encyclopedia Brown and go on adventures with Ramona Quimby but I wanted the hero to be a girl who loved science as much as I do and uses it to save her friends and save the day. I wanted to give a book to my daughter to allow her to laugh, dream, and hold on a little while longer to the magic of childhood.
#2 I also write this series to empower girls in believing that they can achieve their dreams using science. I truly believe that solutions to today’s problems will come from tomorrow’s science – quite possibly her science. The world needs our daughters and our daughters need us.
Well said! I think that the things a child learns through fiction often leads him or her into certain fields as much anything they learn in a classroom, so it’s very important to present them with fiction like this. Especially because they’re learning about nonfiction concepts at the same time. So, on another note, can you tell us where you’re located?
A. We lived in the Houston, Texas area for over 15 years until we were recently relocated with my husband’s job to Beaumont, Texas. Beaumont is a bit closer to Louisiana so our city has a nice mix of Cajun and cowboy culture–hello seafood gumbo and juicy hamburgers!
Q. How exciting. (And that sounds delicious.) So, can you tell us something that you’re proud of in regard to your books?
- A. Recently I picked up my daughter from school and she was so excited to tell me that her friends at school want to read Halley Harper. I’m not sure which makes me more proud: the book, itself, or my daughter, for being such a great marketer! 😉
- I also love when a reader asks for my signature and when parents tell me that Halley Harper has inspired their daughter to try the science experiment in the back of the book.
- One of my all time favorite moments as an author was when I was at a Barnes and Noble book signing and Halley Harper was in a display with “Mathilda” by Roald Dahl. I felt all my writing and publishing dreams had come true in that one moment.
Q. Wow! Agreed–that’s huge. So, what have been some of your biggest challenges?
- A. It’s tough writing the third book in the series while also marketing the first two books. It’s a completely different creative mindset.
- It’s easy to get in the ‘comparison trap’ with today’s social media but I keep bringing myself back to a sticky note I keep on my computer that says “Mission not ego”. I take a deep breath and I keep going.
With that said, I am so incredibly thankful that kids enjoy what I’ve written in my laundry room office in the early morning hours before my own kids get up.
Q. Great motto. What plans do you have for the future for your series?
A. There will be five books in the Halley Harper series that will follow her being a camper at Camp Eureka. The third book will be published in 2019 on geology, the fourth will be biology, and the fifth book will be astronomy.
Who knows? Halley may have to return to Camp Eureka as a teenage camp counselor and solve mysteries using her newly realized engineering abilities!
“My daughter absolutely LOVES Halley Harper. She loved the first book and would constantly ask when this second book would come out. Once it was in her possession, she did not put it down until she finished it. It’s great to know that there is a book out there that is not only pure for a child to read, but that is also inspirational and encouraging to young girls to come to appreciate science and all it exposes us to.” – P. Stevens, Amazon Reviewer
- Halley Harper, Science Girl Extraordinaire: Summer Set in Motion (2017)
- Halley Harper, Science Girl Extraordinaire: The Friendship Experiment (2018)
- She Loves Science: A Mother’s Guide to Nurturing the Curiosity, Confidence, and Creativity of her Daughter (2016)
Q. Where can people keep up with you and buy your books?
A. Lots of places! Please take a look at the links below.
Thanks for sharing your work with us today, Tracy. It’s been great having you here! I wish you all the best with your writing, your science, and your mission.
Finally, readers, as I scoured the web looking for some sort of science pun to use here in closing, all I found instead were some hilarious Q&A jokes. I’ll leave you with these two:
Q: Why can you never trust atoms?
A: They make up everything!
Q: Did you hear about the chemist who was reading a book about Helium?
A: He just couldn’t put it down. 🙂
Thanks, as always, for supporting the authors featured on Rosco’s blog. Please show Tracy Borgmeyer some love by clicking on her book links, or following or Liking some of her pages.
All the best,
Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. ~Rosco’s Reading Room